Law Office of Michael Tonder, P.C.

65 Pineville Road, Suite 2
Monroeville, AL 36460

P.O. Box 337
Excel, AL 36439‎


Immigrant v. Nonimmigrant

Immigrants and Nonimmigrants.

Noncitizens are generally placed into one of three categories: immigrant, nonimmigrant, or refugee.  Immigrants and nonimmigrants will be briefly discussed in this blog post.

What is an immigrant?  An immigrant is a noncitizen lawfully admitted to the U.S. with the intention of becoming a permanent resident. Usually, noncitizens seeking permanent residence fall into one of three classes: family sponsored, employment based, diversity immigrants, and refugees. Future blog posts will discuss these areas, among other things.

What is a nonimmigrant?  Generally, a nonimmigrant is someone who enters the U.S. only for a specified period and whose activities are limited by a visa.  There are numerous visas types covering individuals from students to famous international musicians.

Normally, a nonimmigrant visa must be obtained at a U.S. consulate.  If the consulate issues a visa, the nonimmigrant may then travel to the U.S., where a second review can take place.  Once the nonimmigrant is admitted at the boarder, he or she is given an I-94.  The nonimmigrant may then act within the limitations of the visa.  Many types of nonimmigrants can file for an extension of status to extend their stay and some may even change their status if conditions warrant.   Generally, when the visa expires the nonimmigrant is expected to leave the U.S.


Future blog posts will discuss the specifics for obtaining different types of nonimmigrant visas and how to adjust status.